Ruby




"...I still think we were a good band and I'm proud of what we were, but in the end I hated being in Silverfish. I felt completely trapped - making the kind of music that didn't do it for me anymore. When I left I had a list of elements that I wanted the new project to have. The most important things to achieve were a sense of beauty, sensuality and femininity. There was no way I could get that in Silverfish, there was no space in Sliverfish's music for that. Obviously some purists will want me to remain eternally hardcore but it would be totally dishonest of me to do that because I don't listen to that kind of music anymore."...


Sitting in a Manhattan diner on a hot July morning Lesley Rankine, the physical and spiritual presence behind Ruby, sighs deeply, fixes me with a weary look and sums up her five years as the big booted, crop haired lead singer of hardcore band Silverfish in one sentence: "I joined Silverfish in 1988 and left them in December 1993."


If it were up to Lesley there would be no mention of Silverfish in the biography at all, but even she would concede that to conquer those limiting preconceptions of her that will inevitably exist in some of the lazier areas of media and to properly appreciate the quantum leap of creativity she has made with the forthcoming Ruby album "Salt Peter", her career to date must be put into some sort of context.

"Salt Peter" is a complex and fascinating record on many levels, but this is not a "band" record. Far from it, this is a record made almost entirely with computers: "I didn't use a band on this record because I honestly believe that I was not put on this earth to share my life with a bunch of other people. I met Mark Walk, who did most of the production work on the record, whilst I was in Chicago, and in the end the record was recorded almost entirely by the two of us in his basement in Seattle. Other people involved in the record were William Reiflin who used to drum in Ministry and Revolting Cocks who did some stuff on two of the tracks ('Pine' and 'Flippin' the Bird') and an old friend of Mark Walk's called Eric Anderson who played bass on a few songs. Other than that it was me sitting next to mark going "AAARGH I don't like that" or "I like that" for seven months."

Some of the tracks have already been remixed by the likes of Red Snapper and Wagonchrist, so how does Lesley feel about the concept of remixing?

"I like it. It's good to see other people's perspectives on what you do. There hasn't been a bad remix yet!"

Lyrically this is a very dark and challenging record which was partly influenced by making the record in the States.

"Whatever your surroundings are influences you. What I was seeing and doing and what kind of situation I was living in obviously influenced what sort of things I write about. I think I was a bit psychotic when we were making the record. I went through a whole, huge upheaval in my life. The whole process of recording opened up a few wounds that haven't closed yet."

And when pushed further on how she writes:

"I work visually, I think visually and when I write music it's visually. It's happpening in my head, it's pictures rather than words and that's why I think I've never really learned to play an instrument because to me it's not a visual thing. With a computer it's all there in front of you and you can see the shapers and wave forms and it totally connects with my head."

And Lesley is relaxed and confident when talking of her aims and objectives for "Salt Peter":

"I hope the album is successful obviously but I hope more than anything that it creates a secure ledge on which I can stand so that I can go off and create something different for the next album. I do think the world would be a better place if people listened to Ruby rather than Whitney Houston. Why? Because essentially Whitney Housten is crap!"

 

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